We were able to achieve successes in these areas in the year 2016:
For all building projects, our planning manuals stipulate the use of resource conserving and long-lasting technology and materials. We also strive for the highest possible recycling rate. For many years already we have been surpassing the EU goal of 70 percent. In 2016 we made further improvements and increased the rate by another 14.3 percent. This means that we are already recycling 88% of our excavation material, concrete and asphalt demolition.
During operation of our road network, the use of road grit is naturally a dominating resource factor. Here we also succeeded in achieving a 2.1% reduction in 2016.
In 2017, there are significant increases in salt consumption across all regions. This mainly results from a strong onset of winter in early 2017 and a subsequent cold spell. In February, freezing rain was added on the northern side of the Alps and in the east, which led to a particularly high salt consumption. In November 2017 winter arrived unusually early.
In the coming years we will be converting preventive salting in winter road maintenance from dry salt to wet salt. In this way we can avoid losses due to blowing away, and can further reduce the amount of salt used. In collaboration with ZAMG (Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics) we are also working on new prognosis models for predicting slippery frost and the road surface temperature. These models should be integrated into real-life operation this year. This will go hand in hand with a refined residual salt measurement on the road and more frugal scattering of road grit.
Of course, one of our most important resources is energy. Because of higher road safety standards, increasing traffic volume and additional tunnels, the energy usage increased by 1.6% in 2016. However, this increase was minimal in consideration of the new higher standards. We achieved this through comprehensive efficiency measures such as continued conversion to LED lighting, thermal renovation of almost all motorway maintenance centres, and replacing the oil heating systems there with more efficient energy sources such as gas, pellets, or biomass systems.
With water usage as well we are working on ongoing savings: For cleaning the roads with the sweeper, we use mostly process water. For sewer flushing and cleaning the oil separators, as of 2016 we are only employing service providers whose suction tank vehicles have a water recycling system. For cleaning tunnels, in 2015 we developed a needs-based tunnel cleaning procedure. In this way we hope to optimise the use of both water and energy. In the future, cleaning will not take place according to a prescribed schedule, but will be determined by the current degree of soiling in the tunnel. Because this also has an impact on the level of lighting and the energy required for it.